How Malcolm Kenyatta’s ‘Do Not Wait Your Turn’ Documentary Serves As ‘A Love Story to Pennsylvania’
History-making has become a signature for Malcolm Kenyatta, a Pennsylvania State Representative for the 181st district who became the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color and one of the youngest members elected to the PA General Assembly in 2018.
At just 32 years old, Kenyatta is the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color to run for the U.S. Senate in American history. Now, the general public gets an inside look at his barrier-breaking campaign in the documentary, Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn.
Executive produced by Al Roker along with Hunter Johnson and Derek Helwig of Xpedition, the film premiered at the 2023 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival with a Lee Daniels-moderated Q&A with Kenyatta, Roker, Malcolm’s husband Dr. Matt Kenyatta, as well as Johnson and Helwig.
The highly personal documentary follows Kenyatta’s challenging journey to become Pennsylvania’s first Black and openly gay U.S. Senator. It highlights the self-described “poor, Black, and gay kid from North Philly” discovering how his campaign was bigger than taking on the political competition.
“This documentary is at its core a love story to Pennsylvania, to progress and a story about Black love,” Kenyatta told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“In my run for U.S. Senate, we ran up against a number of systemic challenges and the prickly notion of ‘electability’ which is often code for not electing Black candidates.”
It also shares the biggest lessons the young Representative learned while running for office. A campaign he believes worked well because of his “authenticity” in an age where the public demands more honesty from politicians.
“In our campaign, we punched above our weight constantly earning endorsements and support from major figures and unions in spite of us running behind opponents in terms of money raised,” Kenyatta explained.
“We dramatically overperformed our polling on Election Day and I think chipped away at the idea of who can win in a place like Pennsylvania.”
Kenyatta is currently running for Pennsylvania Auditor General and has used the slogan, “We need an underdog as the watchdog.” It’s a message his campaign stands behind as he continues advocating for Pennsylvania’s working class.
“I’m running for Auditor General because it’s time for the underdog to be a watchdog for Pennsylvania’s working families,” he said. “To ask the tough questions, to help reimagine and streamline government, and to help build the coalitions to fix what’s wrong.”
“Folks in every corner of Pennsylvania have welcomed me into their neighborhoods, their homes and their faith communities,” Kenyatta continued.
“They’ve told me their stories and I’ve shared my own. In those conversations we’ve talked about Pennsylvania’s problems, but also its promise. We need someone who has the back of working families and as Auditor I will.”
Kenyatta’s role in politics comes as conservative attacks on LGBTQ+ rights intensify. But according to the North Philly native, the bills and laws taking aim at the LGBTQ+ community are only hurting those trying to get them passed.
“When all a politician or political party can offer you is a list of who to hate, what to ban, and which marginalized group to blame it reveals that they have no real ideas for making your life better,” Kenyatta said.
“As dangerous as these attacks are on our community it’s also a clear distraction.”
Kenyatta is confident that his documentary and current run for Pennsylvania’s Auditor General will spread a much-needed message of “hope.”
“Everyone who has seen it has left with one word on the tip of their tongue — hope,” Kenyatta said of his documentary. “We can move the needle if we stand up and speak out. Democracy requires something of us and when we do our part we can preserve it for the next generation.”